Kennedy Resistance Grows

The move to make Caroline Kennedy the new senator from New York seems sure to meet with stiff resistance from two of the major players involved, outgoing Senator Hillary Clinton and current senior Senator Chuck Schumer.

Kennedy has powerful supporters, most notably her uncle, Senator Edward Kennedy, as well as her cousin Robert Kennedy Junior. This is a family which knows how to get things done, the recent renaming of New York's Triboro Bridge as the Robert F. Kennedy bridge just the most recent example.

Caroline Kennedy also has President-elect Barack Obama in her corner, perhaps the heaviest endorsement of all, but her lack of political experience has clear drawbacks for her.

Every politician from Buffalo to Brooklyn fancies him or herself in the Senate seat being vacated by Clinton. While it is not a cast of thousands, there are probably a dozen or so major players who can see themselves moving upwards and onwards.

Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney from New York has made clear that she resents the Kennedy intrusion and that she believes she should be the chosen one. She has even hired Bill Lynch, the former top aide to Mayor David Dinkins to try and make it happen.

Kennedy will find strong opposition to her bid from Schumer and Clinton, however. Schumer is an incredibly effective politician who often felt resentment that he was outshone in the media by Clinton, despite his seniority. He hardly wants a Kennedy drawing the same attention.

Besides, Schumer, who worked his way up through the system to his current job, dislikes "celebrity" contenders who have had no political involvement.

In addition, Schumer is said to favor another woman, Congress-woman Kirsten Gillibrand from the Albany area, who would give Democrats a gender and geographic balance that their statewide elected officials currently lack.

As for Clinton, she will hardly forget the stiletto knife Caroline inserted in her ribs when endorsing Obama at a critical moment during the presidential campaign. She will hardly look favorably on her efforts to be the next New York senator.

In the end, of course, Governor David Paterson will make the decision, and no one is quite sure which direction he will go. However, displeasing both Schumer and Clinton would hardly be the wisest move for him.

Caroline may have to display the legendary Kennedy political steel and stealth to get selected.


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